Senate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting

Senate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting
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Senate Democrats are demanding President TrumpDonald TrumpCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Netanyahu suggests Biden fell asleep in meeting with Israeli PM Aides try to keep Biden away from unscripted events or long interviews, book claims MORE detail what he discussed during a private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the answers are needed to "adequately protect America’s interests."
 
Six Democrats sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday saying Americans "have a right to know" what the two leaders discussed during their closed-door meeting on Monday in Helsinki, Finland.
 
"Just today the Russian Ministry of Defense publicly stated that it is prepared to start implementing an agreement you apparently struck in Helsinki with President Putin, an agreement that neither Congress nor the American people have been informed about," the lawmakers wrote.
 
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They added that lawmakers "cannot afford to be blindsided or outmaneuvered."
 
The letter was signed by Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (N.Y.) and Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema MORE (Ill.) as well as Democratic Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Failed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat MORE (N.J.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerAdvocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democrats draw red lines in spending fight Manchin puts foot down on key climate provision in spending bill MORE (Va.), Jack ReedJack ReedTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal We have a plan that prioritizes Afghanistan's women — we're just not using it This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake MORE (R.I.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Trojan Horse of protectionism Advocates call on top Democrats for 0B in housing investments Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees MORE (Ohio), the top Democrats on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Armed Services and Banking Committees, respectively.
 
Democrats want Trump to detail all topics discussing during the meeting, including any "suggestions" Trump made to Putin.

They also want to know about any talk on changing international security agreements, if Trump made any commitments tied to the United States' presence in Syria or military exercises for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

"Mr. President, the answers to these questions are of critical importance to U.S. national security. Answering them in full, without hesitation, will demonstrate that you do still hold America’s interests first," the Democratic senators wrote. 

They added that Trump's "cursory description" of the meeting did not assuage their concerns and "we as a nation must now wonder exactly what you discussed and may have promised to President Putin."

Democrats also want to know if Trump pressed Putin on Russia's annexation of Crimea or for the extradition of the 12 Russian nationals indicted last week for meddling in the 2016 election.

The letter comes after Trump shocked Washington on Monday when he refused to condemn Russia's election meddling during a joint press conference with Putin. Trump tried to walk back his comments on Tuesday amid a political firestorm, saying he accepts the intelligence community's finding that Russia interfered in the election.

But muddling his message, Trump added that it "could be other people also."

The Senate is debating passing new sanctions legislation targeting Russia in the wake of the Helsinki summit and last week's indictment. 

Democrats added on Tuesday that in addition to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Christie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries MORE, who is slated to testify before the Foreign Relations Committee next week, they also want U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, a high-ranking intelligence official and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to testify.